Father’s obesity during adolescence can increase asthma risk for offspring
Males who have considerable weight gain between childhood and puberty, double the risk of having asthma as an adult, and for their future offspring. An international EU-study (ALEC), including researchers from the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen, have found that the period between the age of eight and puberty is particularly important for lung health later in life.
“If one gains a lot of weight during this period, it doubles the risk of having asthma later in life, for both sexes, but for the boys, the risk also doubles for his future offspring,” said researcher Marianne Lønnebotn. The researchers analysed questionnaire data from 3,018 adult offspring (age 18-50) and their 2,153 fathers (age 39-66) participating in the RHINESSA/RHINE generation study in 10 ECRHS centers in North Europe, Spain, and Australia.
“There is a lot going on in the body between childhood and adult. All the organs are developing. Being overweight may lead to an overall inflammation in the body, which may interfere with the development of the organs in this period,” said study author Cecilie Svanes. “I think that the result concerning a boy´s future offspring has something to do with interrupting the transformation of germ cells to sperm cells, in this period,” added Svanes.
Early puberty seems to be an important period for avoiding health problems later in life, not only for oneself but also, in the case of boys, for their future offspring. “The number of obese children in early puberty has increased in Europe. It is therefore important to ensure that children are eating healthier meals and having more physical activity. This could, for example, happen in schools and in the forming of urban space,” said Svanes.
These findings indicated that it is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle during this time period. The research was presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2018.
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